Complete response to NK cell therapy prompts NantKwest to plan pivotal trials
NantKwest is planning registration trials for its off-the-shelf NK cell therapy in triple-negative breast cancer and pancreatic cancer after compassionate use of PD-L1.t-haNK led to a complete response in one patient.
The data, reported at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, helped NantKwest Inc. (NASDAQ:NK) shares to a 91% gain on Monday to a 52-week high of $6.80. The stock gave back some of the gains Tuesday, falling $1.90 (28%) to $4.90. It’s up 38% over its Friday close.
Five infusions of the biotech’s natural killer cell therapy plus ImmunityBio Inc.’s IL-15 fusion protein N-803 completely resolved the tumor metastasis of a pancreatic cancer patient who had relapse after standard of care. The patient is continuing to receive treatment.
PD-L1.t-haNK comprises allogeneic NK cells engineered to express a PD-L1-targeted CAR and to produce intracellular IL-2.
The NK cell therapy is being evaluated in the Phase I QUILT-3.064 trial in patients with locally advanced or metastatic solid tumors. Eleven patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer have been treated with the PD-L1.t-haNK and N-803 combination.
NantKwest shares are now up 185% over their close of $1.72 on Nov. 29, before the company announced the first of several readouts for its NK cell therapies.
On Dec. 2, the biotech said safety data from the QUILT-3.064 trial showed no dose-limiting toxicities in the first six patients treated with PD-L1.t-haNK.
NantKwest reported Phase I data on Dec. 16 at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium for its allogeneic CD16-expressing NK cell therapy, haNK. A combination treatment with haNK led to a disease control rate of 78% and an overall response rate of 67% in 9 patients with second-line or greater metastatic triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC).
The combination included N-803, anti-PD-L1 mAb Bavencio avelumab, low-dose metronomic chemoradiation therapy and adenoviral and yeast tumor-associated antigen vaccines.
Targets: IL-2 - Interleukin 2; IL-15 - Interleukin-15; PD-L1 (B7-H1; CD274) - Programmed cell death 1 ligand 1